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Horse hunting - how much do you trust your trainer?

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  • Horse hunting - how much do you trust your trainer?

    This is something I'm curious about because I'm looking for a new instructor (re-rider looking to start lessons again) and I hope to actually get a horse at some point in the not too distant future, and one thing I'm coming up against is that there are folks who seem like they might be okay as instructors but whom I don't know if I would necessarily trust to give unbiased help in actually finding a horse. (Because they have sale prospects themselves, because they want to lease out something in the stable already, because they're biased against certain breeds, whatever. There can be all kinds of reasons why someone might not give a really good evaluation of a horse.)

    But of course the standard advice for first time horse owners is to trust your trainer, so - do you? Do you pick trainers/instructors based on the need to do that at some point? Do you just plan to involve horsey friends in the shopping?

    Curious about how folks handle this.

  • #2
    I knew my trainer knew what she was doing because I rode a few horses that she had trained herself, and horses that she had chosen for clients. They were SOLID. She had a knack for finding the right brain.

    Of course, I ended up buying the horse I wanted and not quite the horse she wanted for me. But she supported my decision and it's worked out just fine. (See my signature line, that should explain things).

    I was lucky that quite a few of her boarder's horses were on her lesson program so I really got a sense of the type of horse she chose for he clients and I liked them.

    But it's a great question. I'm curious to see the other answers!
    ==================
    Somehow my inner ten year old seems to have stolen my chequebook!

    http://reriderandpony.blogspot.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      My trainer would be totally honest with me even though I'm leasing one of her horses. When I fell for a Canter horse I took the pictures to her. She told me he had fantastic conformation, but did dissuade me with "you know you couldn't ride him for a year--he's only three!" So, a grain of salt, but a tiny grain.

      Comment


      • #4
        The best trainers know their students need to be on the best horse for the student, to be successful. Sticking a student on whatever a trainer has for sale, even if it is not a good match, does not necessarily make for strong confident results later on. Confident successful happy students earn more for a trainer in the long run than one horse sale, in addition to the ethics of the choice of horse.

        I'd say talk to your trainer's students and ex-students in settings where they can feel comfortable talking. You want a trainer who has a good record of students who are happy and successful (however that is defined) on a horse found for them by the trainer.

        If a trainer has the right horse for you in the barn, all is good to buy from the trainer. And there is a great chance you can ride the horse for a while before you commit. A good trainer that doesn't have the right match will help a student go horse shopping.

        When you do go horse shopping, trust your own instincts, as well as the trainer. You can make changes if you don't feel particularly confident of how things are going.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mayhew View Post
          My trainer would be totally honest with me even though I'm leasing one of her horses. When I fell for a Canter horse I took the pictures to her. She told me he had fantastic conformation, but did dissuade me with "you know you couldn't ride him for a year--he's only three!" So, a grain of salt, but a tiny grain.
          Um, this is not true. You can absolutely ride three year olds...particularly TBs that have already been racing...

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          • #6
            Can't say because I've never had a trainer, buy my horses on my own.

            But I will say I was unimpressed with a trainer that called from a long way away, some years back, when I had a horse for sale. It happened that her client was skiing nearby and would like to try the horse. I said fine. She then said okay, how much are you going to pay me? I said zero, any fees on my horse were between her and her client. So client never saw what might have been a fine fit. I saw it as an attempt at highway robbery- trainer could no more advise client from where she was than the man in the moon.

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            • #7
              I've bought several horses with trainers, bought one that a trainer advised against and bought one totally on my own. They all worked out and I honestly can't say that I regretted any of them. I've never had a trainer advise I buy a horse that I thought was a bad choice. If anything, they were the voice of calm and reason when I was sucked into the "he's the one!" mode.

              I think it's good to get the opinion of someone you trust and respect, but ultimately it's the buyer's decision. The important part is picking the trainer.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Beverley View Post
                Can't say because I've never had a trainer, buy my horses on my own.

                But I will say I was unimpressed with a trainer that called from a long way away, some years back, when I had a horse for sale. It happened that her client was skiing nearby and would like to try the horse. I said fine. She then said okay, how much are you going to pay me? I said zero, any fees on my horse were between her and her client. So client never saw what might have been a fine fit. I saw it as an attempt at highway robbery- trainer could no more advise client from where she was than the man in the moon.
                I think part of why I'm asking about it is because I have had a trainer in the past who I really would have trusted to give me the full story without wanting a cut from the seller, and so far no one who has lesson horses around here is giving me the same sort of feeling.

                (I know leasing is an alternative to lesson horses, but I'm not ready to go that route quite yet.)

                I would like to have someone involved in my riding regularly who I felt would be able to give me an honest assessment of where I am and if a horse would be a good fit or not, but I'm kind of wondering if I'm going to need to go outside the box a little and just find an instructor I like for lessons and when it comes time to buy, rely more on more experienced horsey friends for guidance and my own gut.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I did it the opposite way. I picked my trainer cause I bought her horse, and I thought she had done a good job training her.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My previous trainer was not someone I trusted to help me purchase a horse. Although I liked what I was learning from that trainer, they were giving me no help at all in terms of finding a horse. I had a decent budget, not huge, but something fairly respectable. They weren't doing squat to work their contacts nor even comment much on ads I showed them. After several rounds of this I realized I was getting nowhere and I dumped that trainer.

                    Fast forward a few months and I'm out on my own looking seriously without the help of a trainer. I bought young and green, exactly the type of horse the previous trainer would have told me not to buy or that they would have poo-pooed from the start.

                    A year later after groundwork, long-lining and finally some riding and horsey is scoring consistently in the high 60's to low 70's at training level. We also just won our first horse trial to boot. Not something the previous trainer would have told me I'd get with this horse. Current trainer made all the difference. If I were to buy again, I'd have complete faith in my current trainer.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                      Um, this is not true. You can absolutely ride three year olds...particularly TBs that have already been racing...
                      I know. That was her smokescreen to keep me on my leased horse. As I was not actively looking for a horse, but was just drawn to this one, it didn't really matter. Had I been more serious, I would have paid for her to drive over the mountains to see this horse.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Has anyone run into trainers who are really restrictive? As in:
                        (1) no mares
                        (2) nothing younger than 8
                        (3) nothing older than 14 because "you don't want to be the last owner"
                        (4) must have changes already confirmed

                        My former trainer would make comments like this. Keep in mind I'm a decent rider, totally capable of riding youngsters (and have done a lot of it) so it's not like I'm a beginner.

                        Interestingly, the former trainer only started sending me ads after I gave up my lease and left the barn. A few weeks later I started getting calls from them saying they had X or Y horse for me to look at. lol.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I haven't read all of these.

                          I don't trust my trainer; I respect his knowledge and expertise. The guy has been in the business for 50 odd years, so he's screwed people in the past, just a fact of life. I like the guy, he has a ton of experience, good judgement, seems like a stand-up guy, but I don't trust him.

                          I'm horse shopping now. I welcome his input, but at the end of the day, my money is being spent, not his. We have implicitly different interests in the transaction.
                          Visit my Spoonflower shop

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            To the OP - do have a horsie friend help you...

                            I recently had a re-rider friend be pursuaded to look at a horse for sale by her new (lessons for 3 months) trainer. A little digging on my part found the horse to be 7 years older (22yo v. 15yo) than advertised and not half of the show record that the trainer had alluded.

                            We aren't sure if the trainer was in error or not but my friend passed on the horse and was thankful to have a trusted advocate beyond the new trainer.

                            So yes, have a friend help, and above all else, get a vet do a pre-purchase exam on the horse.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mayhew View Post
                              I know. That was her smokescreen to keep me on my leased horse. As I was not actively looking for a horse, but was just drawn to this one, it didn't really matter. Had I been more serious, I would have paid for her to drive over the mountains to see this horse.
                              Ick. I would not trust this trainer at all, then. She's a liar and does not know how to just be direct and say "I think you should stick with the leased horse for now because..."

                              As for trainers - I don't trust them, but I will make use of their knowledge and contacts when it suits me. Acting as an agent "for me"? Absolutely not, I don't trust them. The trainer-as-agent scenario is set up to be abused, as the trainer's commission is generally tied to getting clients to pay more for horses.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My trainer rarely gets commission off horse purchases/sales and has enough horses in training to keep herself busy already, so I trust that she's not going to point me in the wrong direction when she has so much fun with correct matches. She has a history with many mismatched clients who came to her with horses and she either helped them learn to get along with the wrong horse or helped find the right person and find those clients the right horse. Often times they ended up as two-way giveaways to great long-term homes, even. Definitely no financial incentive as far as horse ownership changing, but incentive as far as keeping clients happy.

                                It's true that trainers have a different perspective/different interests, so that's of course something to keep in mind, though, even from a 100% honest trainer. In my case my trainer really wanted to see one of her clients buy my horse, so that was her self interest - she loves him. But she also didn't have any clients who were a good match for him until I came along. When his previous owner suggested I try him her response was "We ride very similarly, I think you would be a good match." Turns out, she was right that we were a good match. With my new girl I bought basically of photos and video but went to see out of state she reviewed the photos and videos and gave her opinion that she seemed likely to be exactly my type of horse, discussed what to look at when I saw her in person, etc., and she's now eagerly waiting to meet her in person.

                                I definitely trust my trainer. However, she's not me, she's not my mother - her professional reputation and career are and should be #1 priorities for her. It's not bad to remember that no matter how much I love her and love riding with her.
                                Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Meh. I won't be in the barn and paying someone I don't trust, however, there is a difference to me in trust and blind faith.

                                  I trust that my trainer will find appropriate horses for me to consider. I trust that she will give me an honest opinion of a horse's suitability for what I want to do, regardless of it's one of hers or one I've found on my own.

                                  HOWEVER, at the end of the day, it's my money. I'm going to choose the horse *I* want in my barn. My trainer can sort through the brains, and movement, and athletic ability -- once they pass all of those aspects, then I choose which one I get along with best and just generally like the most.
                                  Veni vidi vici. With a paint pony, nonetheless.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think it depends. I've been on both sides. I've had trainers point me to horses that weren't right for me.

                                    However, I do trust my current trainer. At the same time, I must feel that a horse is right, as well.

                                    When we went shopping in Europe, I told her she had veto power. She got multiple offers of cash from sellers who wanted her to push their horse and she turned them all down.

                                    I fell in love with a mare who outclassed me in every way. But I sensed she had a fantastic mind, was kind, and wanted to please. So my trainer didn't veto it but warned me I would have to get serious and probably would not be able to jump her for about a year. She was right.

                                    My thought is that you ideally want somebody with a good eye to approve your decision. If you can't trust a trainer to do that, they definitely don't need to be part of the decision and will not have earned the commission.
                                    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by kdow View Post
                                      I would like to have someone involved in my riding regularly who I felt would be able to give me an honest assessment of where I am and if a horse would be a good fit or not, but I'm kind of wondering if I'm going to need to go outside the box a little and just find an instructor I like for lessons and when it comes time to buy, rely more on more experienced horsey friends for guidance and my own gut.

                                      Sounds like a sensible approach to me.
                                      As others as noted, do go with someone that can give you a good reliable set of eyes. And do get a vet check. But ultimately, it is YOUR decision. Process information from others and then ask yourself, but do I think this is my horse?

                                      I recall accompanying a friend horse shopping, along with another friend, and despite our urgings, she bought the 'pretty' horse that was not right for her instead of the 'plain jane' that was solid in conformation and performance, just not as flashy, a horse I would gladly have owned myself! Upshot was (making a very long story short) her purchased turned into a project that I had to help sort out w/riding instructor, ultimately the horse was successfully sold to a professional barn where he belonged.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I knew I could trust my trainer when she said I didn't need to spend more than XYZ on a horse because all I needed to spend to get exactly what I wanted was ABC (she got commission and was not trying to sell a horse that cost ABC, and this was in response to me bringing up the idea of tapping into some of my other resources to access more money). I thought that said a lot about her interest in helping me find the right horse within my budget.

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